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Protest mode: Police arrest ASHA workers during a demonstration in R.R. district on Wednesday.
HYDERABAD: The reported suicide of as many as 36 farmers across Ranga Reddy district in the last one month dominated the proceedings of the Zilla Praja Parishad General Body Meeting of the Ranga Reddy district here Wednesday. Of these deaths, ZPTC members pointed out, five took place during the last seven days in Tandur mandal alone.
The deaths were primarily attributed to bad crop, mounting debts, including those taken from microfinance institutions and losses incurred in sale of crop.
Collector M. Dana Kishore said eight cases including seven in Vikarabad and one in Chevella have come to his notice, and a committee comprising local DSP, Sub-Collector and agriculture officer would enquire into the other cases reported by the media. “Whatever farmer suicide cases we find are genuine, we will release the package to the affected families in the next 10 days,” he said. The next of the kin would be eligible for Rs.1.5 lakh compensation.
Toddy shops and illicit liquor also came in for scathing attack at the meeting. ZPTC members highlighted 16 deaths, 10 in Vikarabad and six in Ghanpur village, due to consumption of illicit liquor. With belt-shops mushrooming in the villages, members pointed out, children as young as 8-10 years were getting addicted to liquor.
Acknowledging the presence of liquor mafia, the Collector announced the constitution of a special committee to look into the issue.
When he sought details on the raids conducted, illicit liquor seized and the functioning of vigilance squads, the assistant superintendent representing the Excise Department was at a loss for words. Noting the absence of Excise Joint Commissioner at the meeting, the irked Collector asked the Chief Executive Officer to initiate action against him. Vikarabad ZPTC P. Mahipal Reddy found objection with “outsiders” being allowed to sell toddy. Home Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy and ZP chairperson P. Suneetha Mahender Reddy chaired the session.
Earlier, protesting VHS workers, demanding payment of dues and a hike in their earnings were forcibly removed by the police.
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